Without his best stuff, Montas battles against Brewers

Right-hander grinds out five innings while taking his first Reds loss in three starts

April 10th, 2024

CINCINNATI -- When ' lackluster night on the mound was over on Tuesday, the veteran Reds starting pitcher didn't head to the clubhouse right away.

Montas spent some time in the dugout talking with the club's four young starters -- Nick Lodolo, Hunter Greene, Graham Ashcraft and Andrew Abbott.

Even from off performances, like Montas endured during a 9-5 loss to the Brewers at Great American Ball Park, something can be learned.

"I was telling them I’m the type of guy that at least I was trying to go out there and [take] something that was not too good in the third inning and tried to turn into a quality start or at least hold it right there," Montas said.

"They were giving me encouragement. They said, 'Hey you didn’t have your best stuff tonight, but at least you went out there and tried to grind it.'”

Over five innings, Montas gave up five runs (three earned) on six hits and one walk to go with four strikeouts while throwing 96 pitches.

Montas, who came into the night 2-0 with a 0.77 ERA, looked poised to keep it rolling when he retired his first six batters in a row. In the third inning, the right-hander struggled to retire hitters after reaching two strikes.

“I wasn’t really effective trying to put guys away," Montas said.

Sal Frelick opened the rally with a walk after being down in a 1-2 count.

"If I can take anything away from tonight, it was the walk in the third inning," Montas said. "I think that was what started everything. I got myself in trouble giving somebody a free pass. I have to give them some credit, too.

“I feel like I made some good pitches and they were on it, especially on my split.”

Brice Turang was in a 2-2 count before hitting a double and Blake Perkins had a 2-2 count before blooping a full-count pitch into right field for a two-run single.

With two outs, Christian Yelich was down, 0-2, before battling back to hit an RBI single that gave Milwaukee a 3-0 lead.

Montas needed 36 pitches to get through the top of the third inning. He was able to bounce back with a scoreless fourth.

“Honestly, I felt like I was still hitting my spots, still throwing my fastball," he said. "I was still throwing the heater up, down and sometimes when you get tired, you don’t really hit your spots. I was a little tired, but I was still feeling pretty good.”

In the fifth inning, after William Contreras grounded a potential double-play ball to shortstop, Elly De La Cruz's errant throw to second base left everybody safe.

Montas paid for the mistake when Yelich followed with a two-run double that extended the Brewers’ lead to 5-1. Overall, Montas generated only six misses on 43 swings.

“The first two starts, he had really great command -- maybe not his out pitch tonight, but he did a great job of battling. He kept us in it," manager David Bell said. "He could have got out of that with five innings and only three runs, which kept us in the game.

"I think with Frankie, with what he was able to do, we talked about how important it is when it’s not your best night, battle and do everything you can to get at least to the fifth to give us a chance to win. He definitely did his job tonight.”

Carson Spiers, who was recalled from Triple-A Louisville on Monday, provided four innings of relief to save the bullpen and gave up four runs (three earned). The Reds scored two runs in the seventh inning and two more in the eighth, but saw their ninth-inning rally come up empty after putting runners on second and third with no outs.

Closer Abner Uribe struck out the rest of the side in order to seal it.